SEAL BEACH, Calif. —The sky was blue and the sun bright for the first time in days after a week of powerful Southern California rainstorms, but all Victoria Macey could see was the mountain of steaming trash and twisted debris on her favorite beach.
"I'm completely shocked. From our house, all we could see was gorgeous clouds and then we come down here and there's so much trash, it's really sad," Macey said as she photographed a sopping plastic baby doll propped atop a piece of furniture. "I can't believe how many shopping carts there are. That's what blows my mind."
The mounds of soggy sofa cushions, rusted shopping carts, plastic children's toys, dented refrigerators and hundreds of plastic cans and food wrappers were just one calling card left by a week of punishing rain that pelted Southern California and went on to tangle with Arizona and New Mexico.
About 35 miles to the north of Seal Beach, hundreds of residents who evacuated from wildfire-scarred communities in the San Gabriel Mountain foothills north of Los Angeles returned home Saturday to assess the damage and remove mud and debris from their properties. There were no reports of major damage despite widespread concerns about mudslides and debris flows from the relentless rain.
About half of the 500 residents of a small western Arizona farming community who were evacuated after floodwaters swept through the town Thursday, returned Saturday. Muddied streets and damaged homes and businesses remained, and La Paz County sheriff's spokesman Lt. Glenn Gilbert said the community was in cleanup mode. Many said they were happy to survive the storm.
On Saturday, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office announced that the body of 6-year-old Jacob Baudek, who was swept away by rising floodwaters in central Arizona on Thursday, was spotted by hikers along the Agua Fria River and recovered from the river bank.
At higher elevations, forecasters warned of blowing and drifting snow and issued winter weather and wind advisories for southern New Mexico, with heavy snow expected in the Gila and Sacramento mountains. In the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico, wind gusts reached nearly 70 mph Saturday. More than 2 feet of snow has fallen in the Chama area in northern New Mexico, while parts of southwestern New Mexico got 27 inches of snow.
Harsh winter weather also hit the Dakotas, where thousands of people were without power after icy weather toppled miles of power lines.